A SANE Success Story by Henry Lim
It all started on July 10th 2012. After years and months of deliberating, I realized that I was fat. The final straw was when I could not wrap my headphones around my neck! Sweating from the double chin also contributed to this realization. I also hated taking photos as I didn’t look as good as I thought I should.
I am 180cm( 5ft 11”) and was 82kg(181pounds). Basically overweight, if you use the BMI at 25.2. But personally I think that is a useless number as it’s not measuring the body fat% (as I later learned).
My first approach was calorie counting — believing that I needed to eat less and exercise more. So I started my regime of eating less and running. But I quickly saw that the amount of calories I could lose from running compared to the calories I could eat easily meant that this approach was not going to be very effective in the long term. Heck, drinking a latte adds 250 kcal and I do not even burn that much from running. And the worst part is that I did not see any results from all of my effort.
Then I was introduced to Intermittent Fasting (IF) from Leagains. I did the “18/6” method and skipped breakfast, having only lunch and dinner. Before that, I was consuming a big breakfast since I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, so I was wondering what to do in the morning to keep myself from feeling weak and hungry. After a week or so, I went to a dietitian and started eating, lo and behold, “healthy whole grains”. And like Jonathan says in the podcasts, it is just like smoking with filter but it is still smoking. Then I cut down somewhat on my carb intake and began to see some loss in weight.
But the weight loss seemed to stop after a short time. Then I tried out “Eat Stop Eat” by Brad Pillon. In this program, one fasts for 24 hrs once or twice a week. But you can eat anything you want during the days when you do eat. Although it became clear to me that you could not really eat anything you want and still get good results.
I then began to research on diets and those like the Adkins diet and the LCHF (low-carb high-fat) I worked on figuring out how to apply this information to suit my lifestyle. I must admit it is really hard to believe LCHF is true, but the good thing about science is that it works whether you believe it or not.
In my research I came across the movie “Fat Head”, The “Eat Fast Live Longer”, the Diet Doctor site , “Good Calories Bad Calories” and videos like Slim is Simple. I read lots of reports on IF and diet. I checked out sites like Daily Apple from Mark Sission, Nerd Fitness. I agreed with Tom Naughton’s opinions on baby powder and the tons of carbs that we feed our kids and maybe why they are all falling sick before they even grow up. Parents nowadays have no idea what they are doing and only listen to food companies selling what they want to and thinking they are healthy. I heard somewhere that nutrition should be a subject that we teach in school early to children. I think that is a good idea as prevention is better then cure.
Now I do weight training 2-3 times a week and maintain a low carb diet throughout the week.
Right now I weigh a slightly below average of 66kg(145 pounds). I also went for a check up and my blood work came back good. My thyroid tests are a bit high but I feel fine.
I am glad to say that I feel stronger and leaner then before, I actually weigh in as when I was an 18year old.
Here are some things I’ve learned on my journey to discover the most healthy lifestyle:
- Move on. It’s important to understand that there are options out there besides drugs to treat a condition. We must stop blaming ourselves and others for the current obesity situation and move on by dealing with it. Learn and understand the information about health and nutrition and then find a realistic approach that you can use to change your lifestyle and not just consider it a diet. Keep moving forward to read, learn and listen. Always do some due diligences to research on what people is saying and if it makes sense before jumping straight onboard.
- Respect and communicate with your parents. Most of us grow up being fed by our parents and some of us still do. Food served by them is based on their best knowledge but may not be the best. By communicating with them on your intention and why you are doing this, you are respecting them and they should respect your healthy food decisions.
Here are few sites that I find useful:
- http://thesmarteerscienceofslim.com — podcast and video is really useful. Nowadays I always use the smoking with and without filter analogy for eating complex carbs vs refined.
- Fathead.com — really entertaining and useful movie
- Marksdailyapple — good information on nutrition and exercise
- Nerdfitness.com — very creative presentation and good info
- Bradpilon.com — always insightful and ready to answer your questions.
- Examine.com, — if you are into supplements this site reviews the available studies and gives you good information that allows you to make a decision based on the papers they have linked.
- Dietdoctor.com — fantastic videos and info and updates.
- The Smarter Science of Slim, Jonathan Bailor
- Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
- Fat Chance by Dr.Robert Lustig
- Wheatbelly by Dr. Willam Davis
- The Ketogenic Diet by Lyle Mcdonald
- Body by Science by Doug McGuff
Roadblocks and challenges that I have encountered, and things I have learned:
- Cost . The cost of eating really healthy is not really as affordable as carbs and processed food. But we need to look at options like eating more vegetables. Do not be too hard on yourself if you cannot find the best food.
- Peer/ family pressure and others thinking you are crazy. As long as you have made an educated and scientific approach towards what you are intending to do, go ahead and ignore the nay-sayers. As Jonathan will know there will always be haters.
- Genetics,. You are bounded by your genetics but you can maximize the potential. It may take a longer time for you to succeed but a small step forward is better than none. Keep moving forward.
- Time and patience. Everything takes time and there is no quick fix. So do not expect miracles or to lose 10kg in a day. Some people may react better to certain techniques than others so don’t panic and give it a chance. The body takes some time to get used to a LCHF diet and initial dizziness or hunger will go away.
- Adaptability. Do not keep holding on to previous knowledge like religion. In the face of good scientific data, it could prove your theory otherwise. Use a scientific approach and see where you go wrong and adjust accordingly. Do not be ashamed to adjust because science is always evolving, what is known to be correct can be proven wrong in the future.
- Communication and respect. Most of us grow up being fed by our parents and some of us still stay with our parents. Food serve by them is based on their best knowledge but may not be the best. By communicating with them on your intention and why you are doing this, you are respecting them and they should respect your decision doing it. We respect them by telling them about our diet so we would not waste food. We should tell them it is not about liking the food just that the content needs to change. Work with them to let them know why and maybe work out a recipe that still taste as good but less or no carbs.
- Weight loss stopped, depending on your target body fat. There is a lot of methods like IF and nutrition and exercise which can be applied.
- Targets. Set some realistic targets and something quantifiable. Like lose 10kgs in 3 months or reach 15% body fat. And not like I want to lose weight and exercise more. Plan it and work towards it.
- Exercise and weight training. For me a healthy body should also look good and function well. I strongly recommend even women to do some weight training to make the now slimmer body look good. Or take up some interval training like basketball or sports.
- Health and fitness is not the same (Mark Sission), you can look like a slob and still run 42k. I can be healthy but cannot run even 10k. Fitness can mean you can do a triathlon but may still be suffering from some disease and being healthy just means you are free of disease.
- Make a lifestyle change and not a diet change. Diets are meant to crash.
- Do not make everyday a cheat day.
- Lastly, do something that you like and live with. Everybody is different. Do not follow blindly. Keep trying and do not give up easily.